Outside workers in the Municipality of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac in the Laurentians refused to work overtime today to express their exasperation with the pace of negotiations to renew their collective agreement.
The pressure will soon edge up a notch because, starting on December 1, 2023, the inside workers will be able to exercise the same type of pressure tactics. For months now, both unions have denounced the lack of decision-making authority by the employers’ representatives at the bargaining table and particularly the absence of the general manager.
Before the municipal council meeting last November 8, the mayor agreed to meet with the union representatives and the interim general manager of the town. Unfortunately, that meeting did not yield any progress.
“In all honesty, discussions were quite limited, and the employer did not offer anything constructive that would produce an agreement on the issue of our members’ working conditions. In fact, the employer even refused to recognize the adverse effects of runaway inflation on the employees’ purchasing power. Moreover, the town doesn’t respect their expertise. It’s a flagrant lack of open-mindedness,” said CUPE union representative Stéphane Paré.
The union representing outside workers and the municipality recently agreed on terms to maintain essential services, a legal requirement that is not binding on inside workers. As a result, this strike could cause inconvenience to members of the public.
On September 12, 2023, the 41 outside workers and the 31 inside workers unanimously voted in favour of pressure tactics up to and including strike action. Both groups have been without a contract since December 21, 2019.